THE Jaguar XE has followed the SV Project 8 performance saloon on to the track by setting a special lap record, this time around a long-forgotten Grand Prix circuit in France.
The five mile Circuit de Charade in Clermont Ferrand, which included public road sections, hosted the French Grand Prix in 1965, 1969, 1970 and 1972.
It fell out of favour as loose volcanic rock and the lack of any real run-off areas took their toll on cars and drivers alike.
The full, longer circuit was last used in 1988 and Jaguar returned to the historic track to mark the anniversary of its closure by completing the first flying lap of the circuit in three decades.
After completing the fastest ever lap of the Nurburgring Nordschleife in a production saloon behind the wheel of the XE's track-ready stablemate, the SV Project 8, driver Vincent Radermecker attempted to set a production saloon lap record in the XE 300 Sport.
With a roundabout and two narrow gateways not used in the original circuit to contend with, Radermecker lapped the demanding track in just four minutes nine seconds at an average speed of 72mph.
Radermecker said:"I set the production saloon record at the NÃ¼rburgring in the XE SV Project 8 last year and this lap was every bit as demanding. The agility, dynamic handling and all-wheel drive traction of the XE 300 Sport came into its own on this challenging track. The longest straight is barely 600 metres, so I can see why drivers used to call this the French Nurburgring. It's a privilege to drive this track and it's really special to drive here with Jaguar."
The XE 300 Sport is powered by a 300ps 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine and is capable of 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds.
With 400Nm of torque, Radermecker was able to make full use of the XE's handling to exploit the smallest of opportunities throughout the twisty, undulating track, which snakes around the extinct volcano that sits in the centre of the original layout.
Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover chief engineer, said: "The XE features a lightweight, stiff aluminium-intensive architecture and sophisticated integral-link rear suspension, making it the best driver's car in its class. Following the XE SV Project 8's record-setting lap at the Nurbugring, for the 300 Sport to set a record on this fast, flowing and demanding circuit demonstrates that these are two cars with one DNA."
The Jaguar XE is priced from £31,505 and models are available with a range of diesel and petrol engines.